The CardioVascular Coalition (CVC), a leading group of community-based cardiovascular and endovascular care providers, physicians, and manufacturers created to advance community-based solutions designed to improve awareness, prevention, and intervention of vascular disease, is urging healthcare leaders, policymakers, patient advocates and other stakeholders to join them in recognizing September as Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month, a time designated to increasing awareness about the disease and treatment options to save limbs, and save lives.
PAD is a life-threatening circulatory condition, which affects an estimated 18 million Americans. Also known as claudication, poor circulation, vascular disease, or hardening of arteries, PAD is a chronic condition, which causes narrowing or blockage of the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the legs. The primary cause of PAD is the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
“Early diagnosis and clinically appropriate intervention of PAD are critically important for our patients who, if undiagnosed and untreated, can face limb loss as a result of their disease. Sadly, too many Americans experience limb loss as a result of PAD despite the fact that treatments and technologies are available that can prevent amputation,” said Jeffrey G. Carr, MD, FACC, FSCAI, an Interventional Cardiologist and Endovascular Specialist and the physician lead on the CardioVascular Coalition. “PAD Awareness Month is an important opportunity to increase awareness because, across the board, Americans know far too little about PAD. By supporting PAD Awareness Month, we hope to change that.”
If not properly managed, PAD can lead to non-traumatic lower limb amputations, which data show lead to lower quality of life and increased risk for death. According to the Amputee Coalition’s National Limb Loss Information Center, 54 percent of limb loss in the U.S. is the result are vascular disease, including PAD.
Underserved communities are at an even greater risk for both diabetes and PAD. African Americans, for example, are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with PAD and are at an increased risk of complications from diabetes, according to research analyzing the prevalence of and risk factors for PAD in the U.S.
While not every patient experiences symptoms of PAD, the CVC urges patients to be aware of the symptoms, which include leg pain, numbness, tingling, or coldness in the lower legs or feet, and sores of infections of the feet or legs that heal slowly.
To access more information about PAD Awareness Month activities, visit cardiovascularcoalition.org/pad-awareness-month/. Join the conversation on Twitter at #PADAwareness.